Binion’s Sparks Outrage by Removing Festival Guarantees

September 26th, 2015 | by Brian Corlisse
Binion's removes Poker Open tournament guarantees.

Binion’s removed tournament guarantees without warning and upsets community. (Image: vegasmavens.com)

The birthplace of the World Series of Poker, Binion’s Gambling Hall, received a wave of criticism this week after it unexpectedly removed the guarantees from its Poker Open midway through the festival.

For a number of weeks the casino’s poker room had advertised its Poker Open as having guarantees for all of its 15 tournaments.

Unfortunately, however, a Facebook post by the poker room’s manager earlier this week broke the news that all but two of the remaining tournaments on the schedule would have their guarantees removed.

Kessler Chimes In

The initial Facebook post was met with disapproval from a number of customers who complained that they’d booked time off of work just to take part in certain events.

However, it was poker pro Allen Kessler who brought the news to the attention of the community at large.

Tweeting that the changes were “bad form” on the part of Binion’s, he went on to suggest that such a move may actually contravene Nevada gaming laws.

“This is unprecedented in Las Vegas and may even be a gaming violation,” wrote Kessler.

In defense of the decision to drop the advertised guarantees, Binion’s stated that “very low” attendance figures had caused a number of the early guarantees to be missed.

The inference is that Binion’s is not prepared to continue losing money and compound its already flailing finances.

In fact, the current situation inside the casino’s poker room is vastly different to the one seen in the early 2000s.

With the poker boom in full swing and players desperate to take part in the WSOP, Binion’s was awash with players wanting to follow in the footsteps of legends such as Doyle Brunson and Stu Ungar.

A Tough Break for Binion’s

However, after the WSOP was sold to Harrah’s, Binion’s wasn’t able to cope with the sheer swell of players wanting to take part in the festival.

This forced Harrah’s to move the WSOP to its current home inside the Rio All-Suite Casino and Hotel and since that time Binion’s has struggled to fill its tables.

Given the history of the venue, and the fact no one had pre-registered for the events with canceled guarantees, some members of the community have been sympathetic and suggested Binion’s was forced to take the lesser of two evils.

Moreover, a disclaimer in the small print of its marketing literature did give the casino to “cancel or amend the schedule at any time.”

However, the incident doesn’t appear to have won Binion’s any new fans and it could end up being a -EV long term move if players now decide to take their business elsewhere.

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